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Contrary Cocktail

Moderne Shellac, 2015

Contrary Cocktail

A hypnotic blend of rhythms, landscapes, tones, colors, styles and moods, with melodies leading the way to certain places that only songs without words can go.

-- Pieta Brown, 2015

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After a splendid three days in wunderland Hamburg, Germany we have arrived in Antwerp at a hotel that will rival anything to follow in it’s comprehensive crapness.  The Radisson Blu.  Yes sir, it’s time for Uncle Dick’s profanity laden rant.  Pull up a chair and pour yourselves a warm cocoa.

 

Many decades ago my father was in the advertising game, and good at it.  As I was thinking about this post I reckoned I might try on his trade and come up with an advert campaign slogan for this joint.  See what you think of this: For Fuck’s Sake, Come Stay, We’re Totally Rubbish.  Catchy?

 

Dear oh dear, where to begin?  We flew to Brussels and bussed to Antwerp where we were deposited on the litter strewn street in front of the Radisson Blu.  As we entered the lobby one was immediately struck by the overpowering stench of body oder masked with aerosol room freshener with just a hint of stale cigarette smoke.  The kind of thing you run into in a public men’s toilet at a horse racing track, though I don’t wish to insult that noble sport of kings.  While it was well past check-in time, many rooms were not ready.  I was one of the fortunate to have a room to go to.  I walked in to the sound and rattle of drilling and construction, seemingly from within the room itself.  Several of us tumbled out to the hallway to investigate.  A couple of builder lads toying with PVC piping were there assuring us it would only be another couple of hours.  The noise in the room was surprising as the actual work was being conducted several rooms away.  I think it’s the same as when you go to the dentist and though just one tooth is being drilled every atom in your body is banging away.  Only one remedy, get out the room quickly as possible in search of something to make this stay more tolerable.  Gin.  On the way out, our crew was camped out in the lobby awaiting entry to their rooms.  Not happy.  Nick, King, Chris and I hoofed the bleak streets in this part of Antwerp ’til we found our goal, a shop with spirits.  Toting several bags of supplies, we returned to the hospitality room for a well earned, post-5 o’clock cocktail.  That gin and tonic never tasted better.

 

A couple other unique features of the Radisson Blu are it’s generous 3 towel allotment.  No luxury spared here; wash cloth, hand towel, bath towel.  And, the lifts have convinced me that artificial intelligence is real.  They have fooking minds of their own.  No matter the floor number you enter, the car will stop randomly at another before finally going all the way up to the top floor then returning down to the floor you’ve wished for.  That’s bloody genius I’d say.

 

Today, heading for a morning cup of coffee I spied Tom Hensley storming from the opposite end of the hallway, a visible black cloud over his head.  Seems our builder boys were grinding away at the opposite end of the hall this fine a.m.  Not happy.  By this afternoon they were back at it on my end again.  Not happy.  To the hotel’s credit, the pool and gym were surprisingly good… large space and well equipped.

 

Look, I know these are first world complaints and mean absolutely nothing.  I’m just saying… The Radisson Blu… don’t book.

 

On the other side of the scale, Nick and I spent a great evening and dinner with our friends Henk and Nadia Quintelier.  They are long-time friends who have devoted so much time and effort into a website for me, www.fansite.richard-bennett.com   They have managed to assemble an amazing array of my past that I’d long ago forgotten about, video clips, recordings, comings and goings and testimonials.  I only get to see the Quinteliers every two or three years and we had a good visit last night over a delicious Italian dinner at Isola Sarda.  The service, food and vibe were ideal.  I had an unusual combination of large, head on, roasted shrimp on a bed of creamy risotto with tangy tomatoes and fiery peppers.  Everyone remarked how good their meals were as was the wine.  Check them out if you are here in Antwerp… Isola Sarda… Anneessensstraat 35…. 03-226-94-97    You can find their menu here, www.isolasarda.be

 

Oh, and just a reminder, don’t stay at the Radisson Blu, totally shite.

 

 

Richard

After a splendid three days in wunderland Hamburg, Germany we have arrived in Antwerp at a hotel that will rival anything to follow in it’s comprehensive crapness.  The Radisson Blu.  Yes sir, it’s time for Uncle Dick’s profanity laden rant.  Pull up a chair and pour yourselves a warm cocoa.

 

Many decades ago my father was in the advertising game, and good at it.  As I was thinking about this post I reckoned I might try on his trade and come up with an advert campaign slogan for this joint.  See what you think of this: For Fuck’s Sake, Come Stay, We’re Totally Rubbish.  Catchy?

 

Dear oh dear, where to begin?  We flew to Brussels and bussed to Antwerp where we were deposited on the litter strewn street in front of the Radisson Blu.  As we entered the lobby one was immediately struck by the overpowering stench of body oder masked with aerosol room freshener with just a hint of stale cigarette smoke.  The kind of thing you run into in a public men’s toilet at a horse racing track, though I don’t wish to insult that noble sport of kings.  While it was well past check-in time, many rooms were not ready.  I was one of the fortunate to have a room to go to.  I walked in to the sound and rattle of drilling and construction, seemingly from within the room itself.  Several of us tumbled out to the hallway to investigate.  A couple of builder lads toying with PVC piping were there assuring us it would only be another couple of hours.  The noise in the room was surprising as the actual work was being conducted several rooms away.  I think it’s the same as when you go to the dentist and though just one tooth is being drilled every atom in your body is banging away.  Only one remedy, get out the room quickly as possible in search of something to make this stay more tolerable.  Gin.  On the way out, our crew was camped out in the lobby awaiting entry to their rooms.  Not happy.  Nick, King, Chris and I hoofed the bleak streets in this part of Antwerp ’til we found our goal, a shop with spirits.  Toting several bags of supplies, we returned to the hospitality room for a well earned, post-5 o’clock cocktail.  That gin and tonic never tasted better.

 

A couple other unique features of the Radisson Blu are it’s generous 3 towel allotment.  No luxury spared here; wash cloth, hand towel, bath towel.  And, the lifts have convinced me that artificial intelligence is real.  They have fooking minds of their own.  No matter the floor number you enter, the car will stop randomly at another before finally going all the way up to the top floor then returning down to the floor you’ve wished for.  That’s bloody genius I’d say.

 

Today, heading for a morning cup of coffee I spied Tom Hensley storming from the opposite end of the hallway, a visible black cloud over his head.  Seems our builder boys were grinding away at the opposite end of the hall this fine a.m.  Not happy.  By this afternoon they were back at it on my end again.  Not happy.  To the hotel’s credit, the pool and gym were surprisingly good… large space and well equipped.

 

Look, I know these are first world complaints and mean absolutely nothing.  I’m just saying… The Radisson Blu… don’t book.

 

On the other side of the scale, Nick and I spent a great evening and dinner with our friends Henk and Nadia Quintelier.  They are long-time friends who have devoted so much time and effort into a website for me, www.fansite.richard-bennett.com   They have managed to assemble an amazing array of my past that I’d long ago forgotten about, video clips, recordings, comings and goings and testimonials.  I only get to see the Quinteliers every two or three years and we had a good visit last night over a delicious Italian dinner at Isola Sarda.  The service, food and vibe were ideal.  I had an unusual combination of large, head on, roasted shrimp on a bed of creamy risotto with tangy tomatoes and fiery peppers.  Everyone remarked how good their meals were as was the wine.  Check them out if you are here in Antwerp… Isola Sarda… Anneessensstraat 35…. 03-226-94-97    You can find their menu here, www.isolasarda.be

 

Oh, and just a reminder, don’t stay at the Radisson Blu, totally shite.

 

 

Richard